I was a member of the Sydney and Melbourne family for several years in the late '80's, and returned briefly in the late '90's, I realised, to deal with unresolved emotional repression and grief from the first involvement. Well educated, and with a broad and open minded spiritual Christian upbringing, the 80's Honeymoon Period with the Brahmin Family was shortlived.Ah, spoken like a true BK ... as primal said in three words, the issue is of "Duty of Care".
Not just the BKWSU's duty of care but our duty of care, one's duty to extend one's care to all society whether BK or not BK. Especially, where one has or feels a responsibility for having built up and created what the BK is today.
I toyed with the idea of living in a bhavan several times, and am glad I did not. I came into Gyan independently of, but around the same time as souls like Carmen Warrington and Lee James, David Jones. The BK heirachical system was in full swing then.
Under the guise of 'let the questions cease' and 'surrender', I watched souls being bullied and persecuted by centre heads/wasis and cliques of brothers and sisters (as we called each other then). Like many of you here, I naievely thought it was me with the problem, not making accurate effort, having Maya etc. To a very small extent, it was. Some nine months in, at a Howqua retreat, I got up the courage to speak to Didi Nirmala about what I was observing amongst the BK family.
She was very detached listening to my outpouring. I said I felt I was going to have to leave Gyan under these continuing circumstances. Her reply, "Don't make any decisions". She gave me drishti and, well, you know the story ... everything was alright again!
To cut a long story short, over a period of time, I gave up everything lokik - career (tamo profession) sport/exercise (body consciousness), ties/emotional bond with my lokik family, creative pursuits, all with the sage approval of my pukka BK Seniors. Then I wondered why BK life was so lacking. I doubled my efforts to be accurate, keep a diary and a chart, missed no small detail in Murli, be detached, be that point of light, churning, churning, churning. By the end of my time as a member of the BK I had churned my mind to ghee. I could only spout Gyan to lokik friends, who soon had enough.
I did benefit from the meditation and study initially. It was nice to meet with God in meditation. That and the study were certainly what I'd been looking for. What I wasn't looking for was the bizarre, underlying BK behaviour constantly being justified by Gyani maxims, or that I was being attacked by Maya. Toward the end of my pukka BK time, I wrote to Charlie Hogg telling him I wasn't able to continue in BK life and family. His reply was so considered it appeared empty to me.
I struggled returning to Lokik life, still am in some areas, but that's another story.
What was interesting was my return to the fold in the late nineties. It took a lot of courage, having not resolved a lot of issues from ten years earlier. But I was older, and wiser, still felt a fondness for the movement, and wasn't going to have the same experience again.
Besides the lack of familiar faces among the family (70%, at least, had gone), the thing that struck me most was how little things had changed. I was again the newcomer. Souls who did not know me did not make eye contact or speak with me. Everyone was doing there own little thing in the BK family bubble. I had maintained a sporadic meditation and study in my time away, nothing special but fitting for me. After about six months of contact I attended a retreat at Frankston. I was feeling good about myself and slipped into mode without trying to conform. I happened to bump into an old school friend of my sister who was having some 'peaceful' time at the retreat after a failed relationship.
We were surprised to see each other and began a fairly animated (but respectful of the BK atmosphere) discussion over chai at a table. I was relating valuable experiences for me in Gyan, and mentioned the benefits I'd received from the practice of Amrit Vela. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Sister Maureen (who'd risen to become a Senior Sister in Melbourne) slip into a seat at the table behind ours, within earshot of our conversation. As I related certain aspects of Gyan I could see the steam beginning to come from Sister Maureen's ears. For an instant I thought I should stop my conversation, but I decided not to. Every so often I would glance toward Maureen, as if in normal conversation, to double check what I was picking up in my peripheral vision. She wore the hardest, coldest expression in repressing her anger, that I had encountered in BK life. it was initially shocking, but soon became just sad to see.
That was the first point at which I truly identified that many of the problems I'd experienced in BK life weren't mine, but those of the souls seeking positions of power.
It was an empowering moment for me, to be released from the burden of fear and ignorance of the last ten years. And it was to get better.
Baba often said in the Murli 'Why aren't you flying? This Yoga and knowledge is liberation in life!' The compounded fear and ignorance projected within the BK family was why.
Without any obvious external change, inwardly I allowed myself to fly during that retreat. I (physically) touched souls and laughed, I kindly complimented souls (despite themselves, and to their chagrin sometimes. One brother thanked me, said it was the first compliment he'd received in 12 years in the BK family) and moved around during the evening festivities taking photos and helping improve the facilitation of fun!
Next morning, after a good Amrit and study, I ran into Charlie Hogg and a couple of minions getting a chai. I looked him in the eye, " Excellent meditation this morning, Baba really was present, did you feel him in the atmosphere?" Well, things I'd reasonably suspected to lie beneath Charlie's happy demeanour surfaced. At first he just looked at me blankly, then his mouth curled as he tried to speak. Then his face contorted as he realised, in his anger, he couldn't speak. He made noises for five seconds before blurting "Of course! Of course, I was there!" The souls standing either side of him were stunned. Charlie's face was twitching in near apoplexy. I held his gaze, offering the mercy I was finally free to feel toward this repressed, sad soul.
An ex-BK, who'd had a lot of experience of Charlie, later said something pretty astute about him - "The best thing that could happen to Charlie is if he went out into the real world and got a job."
I've drifted well off topic. Given the circumstance, I am hoping that in sharing something of my experience other ex-BK souls will find benefit. You're not alone in your trouble, and that trouble is profound and debilitating. Rewiring your brain through Yoga is one thing, being sacrificied in the Yagya is another.